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Oz the Great and Powerful (Blu-ray / DVD + Digital Copy)
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Disney’s fantastical adventure Oz The Great And Powerful, from the director of the Spider-Man trilogy,follows Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics. When Diggs is hurled away to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot — until he meets three witches (Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams), who aren’t convinced he’s the great wizard everyone’s expecting. Reluctantly drawn into epic problems facing Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it’s too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity — and even some wizardry — Oscar transforms himself into the great wizard and a better man as well.
For sheer visual splendor, Oz the Great and Powerful is hard to beat. Even before the hot-air balloon of carnival magician Oscar "Oz" Diggs (James Franco) gets swept up in a tornado and hurled to the Technicolor land of Oz, the sepia tones of Kansas have a lush, almost velvety texture. Once Diggs arrives in Oz, he learns of a prophecy that he might be the wizard to free the land from the grips of a tyrannical witch--and from there, the movie juggles visual delights with a story that is regrettably half-baked. Some sequences and characters are skillfully realized (a little girl made of china is perfectly developed, both visually and narratively), while others seem propped up like cardboard cutouts. (Unavoidable comparisons to The Wizard of Oz, a masterpiece of vividly drawn characters, don't help.) Franco doesn't have the theatricality one might want for a carnival huckster, but fortunately his low-key performing style helps to ground the bright spectacle in human emotions. As witches wicked and good, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams all display charm and verve. The movie is flawed, but when Oz the Great and Powerful hits a right note, merging wonder and fear, dazzle and darkness, it's easy to forgive the weaknesses. --Bret Fetzer
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That said, I thought he did well in "Oz the Great and Powerful" as a shady, second-rate carnival magician who suddenly finds himself in a fantastical situation. A little over-the-top when the situation calls for it, he also shows surprising depth in some scenes.
The movie itself was a curious blend of animation, CGI, and live-action performances. I'm a little conflicted about how that worked because some of the scenes seemed a little overwrought to me. Not terrible, you understand; it just seemed that the production team was trying too hard to "make a classic" in the Disney tradition instead of just telling the story.
The actors - Franco included - were first rate.in this film. There are some critics who have been less than delighted with the job Mila Kunis did after she transforms from a beautiful - if naive - young witch into the wicked sister but I thought she did very well in a challenging role.
Likewise, some people have criticized the screenplay because they have - wrongfully, in my opinion - tried to compare this story with the 1939 "Wizard of Oz." L. Frank Baum wrote an entire series of books about the wonderful land of Oz and they each tell a different - if related - story. Because of that, I believe it's unfair to compare one with the other.
In summary: A very nice film with some very good performances by the cast and - if a trifle long - an enjoyable viewing experience.
This movie basically is like a fulfilling modern portrayal to the original Wizard of OZ. This movie created the same sensational use of the tornado to start the story with a believable storm. It also goes beyond the original with the added computer generated effects entertaining the viewer from the beginning tornado to the creation of OZ's legacy and empire all based on smoke and mirrors.
Perfect acting all the way from the opening carnival to the final showdown between the Wicked Witches versus OZ, The Good Witch, and company. The perfect acting was supported by James Franco (Also in the movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes), Michelle Williams (Also in the movie Marilyn Monroe), Mila Kunis (Also in the movie Black Swan), and Rachel Weisz (Also in the The Bourne Legacy).
James Franco - He does well enough in the lead role, but I did keep wishing Oz was at least something like the character so well known from the 1930's film. There's virtually no relationship between the two, mostly due to the casting of Franco. The earlier you just accept that you're not going to recognize the Oz you know, the better time you'll have.
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